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THE THIN BLUE LINE

USA, 1988 (MIFF 1989)

Director: Errol Morris

The Thin Blue Line is both the recreation of the brutal murder of a Dallas policeman in 1976, and a passionate argument for the case of a man wrongly accused of the murder. While making an uncompleted film on notorious psychiatrist Dr James Grigson, director Errol Morris stumbled onto the bizarre case of Randall Dale Adams, who had been sentenced to death for the brutal slaying of Dallas police officer Robert Wood Adams insisted he was innocent, prompting Morris to begin his own investigations. His attention was immediately drawn to the 16-year-old David Harris, on whose evidence Adams was charged and convicted. In time, Morris not only extracted a confession from Harris indicating that he committed the murder, but uncovered fundamental flaws in key testimonies that lead to Adams's conviction Adams's sentence has since been commuted to life imprisonment and the case for his acquittal continues to this day Harris, however, is now on death row as a result of a murder he committed in the meantime.

Morris stresses that his film doesn't just recount a murder investigation, it is one, he says. He doesn't hide from his conviction that a serious miscarriage of justice has taken place and that Adams has been wrongly accused, nor does he shy away from making something of a caricature of 'justice down South'. Painstakingly, his film reconstructs every stage of the convoluted plot, employing numerous formal devices, such as oddly-framed compositions, expresstonistlc lighting, mesmeric editing, and a haunting music score by Philip Glass to emphasise his viewpoint. In this way, his ersatz documentary has more in common with film noir, and crime fiction classics such as The Wrong Man, Detour, Out Of The Past and D. O. A . But, as critic J. Hoberman writes, 'An Errol Moms film bears as much resemblance to an ordinary documentary as a Dali watch does to a Timex '

Errol Moms is the man responsible for Werner Herzog eating his shoe, in Les Blank's memorable short. His earlier films Gates of Heaven and Vernon, Florida have been shown at previous MFFs

See also...

GUERILLA: THE TAKING OF PATTY HEARST

USA, 2004
Guerilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst USA ,/i>'Death to the Fascist insect that preys on the life of the people!' With that incendiary battle cry, the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) declared war on … More »

GLASS: A PORTRAIT OF PHILIP IN TWELVE PARTS

Australia, 2008
“I've been called a minimalist composer for more than 30 years, and while I've never really agreed with the description, I've gotten used to it.” - Philip Glass ... In the year of his 70th birthd… More »

VERNON, FLORIDA

USA, 1981
Vernon, Florida is a film about some of the ordinary (which is to say extraordinary) people of a small town in Washington County, Florida. There is a man obsessed with shooting wild turkeys who takes… More »

Hawking

UK, 1989
The Media Show goes on location with the making of the film version of A Brief History Of Time, Stephen Hawking's best-seller about the origins of the universe. Directed by Errol Morris (Thin Blue Li… More »

A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME

UK, 1991
... ... From Errol Morris, the director of the daz­zling The Thin Blue Line, comes this won­drous and wonder-filled joumey into the life and work of Professor Stephen Hawking, the world-famou… More »

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